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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Camino Ghosts

Series: Camino #3

Narrator: Whoopi Goldberg

Random House Audio

ISBN: 978-0385545990

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 05/28/2024

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

#1 New York Times bestselling author John Grisham takes you back to Camino Island where bookseller Bruce Cable and novelist Mercer Mann always manage to find trouble in paradise.

In this new thriller on Camino Island, popular bookseller Bruce Cable tells Mercer Mann an irresistible tale that might be her next novel.

A giant resort developer is using its political muscle and deep pockets to claim ownership of a deserted island between Florida and Georgia. Only the last living inhabitant of the island, Lovely Jackson, stands in its way. What the developer doesn’t know is that the island has a remarkable history, and locals believe it is cursed…and the past is never the past…

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My Review

Master Southern storyteller John Grisham, the author of the famous Camino Island series— Camino Island (#1) and Camino Winds (#2) with his latest, CAMINO GHOSTS (#3) — A bookstore owner, author, attorney, and an elderly long time resident come together to unearth the history of the past in a quest for justice in this captivating novel.


Set on Camino Island (North Florida/Southern Georgia), the book opens with a lively wedding between Mercer Mann and Thomas.

Bruce Cable, the owner of Bay Bookstore, has an idea for Mercer (author) for a new book about Dark Isle, north of Camino Island. It is one of two smaller barrier islands between Florida and Georgia that has never been developed—only three miles long and a mile wide with pristine beaches.

It has a lot of history, and around 1750, it became a haven for runaway slaves from Georgia, which was then ruled by the British and allowed slavery. Florida was under the Spanish flag, and though slavery was not against the law, runaways from Georgia and the British colonies were granted sanctuary. There was a long-running fuel between the two countries about what to do with the slaves who escaped to Florida.

In 1760, a slave ship returning from West Africa was preparing to land in Savannah when there was a story. A ship from Virginia called Venus with around four hundred slaves. Many died at sea, and conditions were unimaginable. It finally went down about a mile out to sea near Cumberland Island. A few washed ashore in the storm on Dark Island (Dark Isle) and were taken in by the runaways from Georgia in the small community. Two hundred years went by and everyone died or moved away and now deserted.

This promoted the self-published nonfiction self-published book The Dark History of Dark Isle by Lovely Jackson, an 80-year-old resident and the last living heir to Dark Isle. She is a customer of the store.

Presently, many developers are trying to cash in on the land for a resort. Florida real estate developers and vultures are looking for undeveloped beaches that are now prime. Lovely claims she was born on the Dark Isle in 1940 and left there with her mother when she was 15 years old. She claims to be the sole owner.

From condos, resorts, golf courses, and a casino from a rogue corporation in Miami, announcing a six-hundred-million-dollar resort on Dark Isle now known as Panther Cay.

How will they stop the development and prove Lovey is the owner? On top of this, there is Nalla, an African witch doctor with some sort of voodoo priestess known to put a curse on the outsiders. Lovey's story follows the enslavement of one of her ancestors, a young mother named Nalla, who was kidnapped by slave traders. She lost her child, husband, family, and everything.

Bruce thinks this is a great idea for a book. Mercer and Thomas are on their honeymoon in Scotland with Lovey's book in hand. Soon, Mercer's curiosity is spiked. They must earn Lovey's trust to put this story out there for the world to see, create awareness, and protect her rights and those of her ancestors.

My thoughts...

Bruce, Mercer, a retired attorney, and others gather to fight for Lovey and her ancestors under the heir's property in this intense and fascinating legal thriller with signature Grisham courtroom scenes. With a blending of family drama, historical, legal, literary, mystery, suspense, and a few ghosts, Grisham's Southern storytelling shines in CAMINO GHOSTS , the finale of the riveting Camino Island series. My favorite of the series.


Heir property is a fascinating topic today for those caught up in this land ownership battle that targets the poor and rural areas. (David vs. Goliath) If you enjoyed Camino Ghosts, I highly recommend the following books about this topic: Terah Shelton Harris's Long After We Are Gone, Wanda M. Morris's What You Leave Behind, and Brea Baker's Rooted: The American Legacy of Land Theft and the Modern Movement for Black Land Ownership (non-fiction).

As an avid long-time Grisham fan, this is another superb addition to this engrossing trilogy. While CAMINO GHOSTS can be read as a standalone, I highly recommend reading the books in order to learn more about all the fascinating characters. A must-read!

Thanks to Doubleday Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced reading copy for review purposes.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 5 Stars

Pub Date: May 28, 2024

Praise for Camino Island & Camino Ghosts:

"A fresh, fun departure . . . sheer catnip . . . a most agreeable summer destination.”

—USA Today

"The type of wild but smart caper that Grisham's readers love."

—Delia Owens, bestselling author of Where the Crawdads Sing

"Escapist entertainment...with elements of a more traditional Grisham thriller."

—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of numerous #1 bestsellers, which have been translated into nearly fifty languages. His recent books include The Boys from Biloxi, The Judge’s List, Sooley, and his third Jake Brigance novel, A Time for Mercy, which is being developed by HBO as a limited series.

Grisham is a two-time winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction and was honored with the Library of Congress Creative Achievement Award for Fiction.

When he’s not writing, Grisham serves on the board of directors of the Innocence Project and of Centurion Ministries, two national organizations dedicated to exonerating those who have been wrongfully convicted. Much of his fiction explores deep-seated problems in our criminal justice system.

Grisham lives on a farm in central Virginia.



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